July 2000 page 2 of 2
Sunday 16 July

Either he was just tired yesterday and this morning and therefore picky, or he doesn't like his umbrella stroller anymore (haven't tried the other one lately). He fussed constantly in it on the way home from playgroup yesterday. It was unfortunately just too far to carry him with one arm while pushing the stroller, and I stupidly hadn't brought the sling. This morning at the Farmer's Market Dan just put Damian on his shoulders. The kid liked that, very much. His stroller phobia probably was tiredness, though, because Damian fell asleep while riding on Dan's shoulders! By the time we walked to the car, Damian was folded over, head practically touching his leg. Unbelieveably flexible.

We took him on his first hike this afternoon, to Malibu Creek State Park. He had a wonderful time. Spotted (and told us about) birds and butterflies. Ran along the path with us, stopped and tossed rocks in the stream. He was sanguine about moving on when we saw how many bees shared the stream bank with us. We found him another creek bank eventually, and he sat there entirely content, tossing rocks -- kerplunk -- and discovering he could toss one on a boulder -- boing -- and it would then fall in the water -- kerplunk. (Mommy provided sound effects, as did Damian.) Rocks for throwing gathered courtesy of Daddy.

He's finally starting to use language to make his desires known rather than just label and comment. On the way back to the car, Dan put Damian back up on his shoulder. After a while, Damian got restless. Dan asked, "Do you want to walk or ride some more?" Damian said, "wanna ride" and stopped wiggling. Then he kept announcing, "riding on Daddy."

When Dan changed Damian's poopy diaper tonight, Damian commented, "everyone poops." (From the book of the same name.)

Monday 17 July

This morning we watched Sesame Street together. The uppercase and lowercase versions of the letter G appeared on screen. I said, "big G, little g." Ten minutes later, there was an animation of a mommy and child luxe lamps (a la Pixar's award winning short). Damian said "little light, big light."

At the park, we hung out with brand new friend Leon and his mom. Leon was two months older than Damian. His mom opened up a container of cut up fruit. Leon ate some and then offered Damian a grape. Damian's never willingly eaten a grape but he opened his mouth to be fed (and this kid's been eating independently for eons). Leon dropped in the grape. Damian ate half, then offered me the other half. A few minutes later, he went to the container and picked out another grape. Ate half of that too and fed me the uneaten half.

Tonight while hanging out and playing together on the bed, Damian suddenly said, "Bumblebee."

"Bumblebee?" I replied, intelligently.

"Bumblebee eat.

"What does a bumblebee eat?"

"Bumblebee eat carrot."

Tuesday 18 July

His current obsession -- or should I say one of them -- is hanging upside down. This requires parental or sitter assist, naturally. I have to say, my arms get tired awfully fast when dangling a twenty five pound kid upside down for ten minutes. It requires clever distraction techniques to avoid the task when he comes up and says "upside down" or sits on my lap and tries hanging his head and flopping his body. Determined tyke. This is one I hope he grows out of soon. Real soon. Tomorrow would be good.

We needed to go to the store this morning. As soon as he got out of the house, Damian declared, "hot" and then added, "hot in car" and "Don't go in car. Walk." I wish we could, kid. I wish we could. The air conditioner's broken, I think he's feeling the sweat.

Wednesday 19 July

Damian's developed an unfortunate habit of late. When he nurses to sleep for his nap, he wakes up the moment Dan or I try to put him in his crib. Yesterday I just let him have a nursing nap, but I can't do that every day. So today he woke up after just fifteen minutes, very grumpy. And never had a nap.

Tonight during bathtime, I blew through one of those party noisemakers (a silent one) and made the long tongue unfurl. Damian picked up a rubber fish that has a tongue that unfurls when you squeeze it. So we stuck artificial tongues out at each other for a while.

Thursday 20 July

Dan goes over to his acting teacher's (she's a friend) to give her lessons on how to use her editing software. He's started bringing Damian. Damian loves it over there: she's got two boys and those boys have sooo many trucks and little animals and, oh, it's heaven. This morning he came back with a wind-up Thomas train. His two current delights in one: a train that winds up! I think the joy of it is that when you run it along a surface (table, floor, hand), the gears make a little winding/chugging noise. Satisfying, that. He carried it everywhere today. I don't look forward to giving it back.

Damian's first definitive "I want" tonight. "I want go bath." I thought I heard wrong. But no, he was tired and wanted to start the now-I-lay-me-down-to-sleep process. He started talking -- I mean really talking -- later than most kids his age, but interestingly, he has never had the pronoun confusion I've heard other parents talk about, where the kid says "you" when he means "me" or just refers to himself by name to avoid the issue. Damian always has either said "I" or "me" (and used each in the right context) or just left out the pronoun altogether. It fits. He's a meticulous kid.

Friday 21 July

This afternoon we got home from a movie to find that Damian had found five books on the floor and carefully laid them out in a row, sides touching. We later saw why: he likes using it as a path. He walks on the books in one direction, then turns around and walks the other way. Pretty inventive, I thought.

It's official. No more high chair. We set up the booster seat on a dining chair, bought an easy-to-wipe placemat, and Damian sat there for both lunch and dinner. He seems pleased. I can't get over the sight my little two year old sitting at the dinner table with us. Wild.

Saturday 22 July

Damian woke up this morning saying "goodnight moon." When he sat up, he pointed to the stack of books on the dresser and said "books" so I took down a bunch for him. He of course started to leaf through Goodnight Moon. He knows it really well. He was reciting -- and pointing at the "toy house and young mouse" and saying "goodnight comb, goodnight brush, goodnight bowl of mush." Couldn't quite say "good night to the old lady whispering 'hush'" so he settled for "hush." But I'm telling you: "good night bears, good night chairs..." This kid's got it down. Kind of touching, actually.

This morning at playgroup, Dahlia (20 months old, with a semi-twin brother) sat down right next to Damian on the porch. Scooting in close. Damian started talking to her, chattering away. The past few days, he's really started to interact with other kids his age. When we left, I said "bye, Terri" (one of the other moms) and asked Damian to say goodbye to her too. He never does. Well, he did.

He got completely cross -- gearing up to tantrum velocity -- in the car this evening. He threw a toy fire truck for no reason I could see. We told him he would get another toy when he calmed down. So he calmed himself down. Total time elapsed: one minute. I was impressed.

Sunday 23 July

We got together with a bunch of MayMoms (and MayToddlers, all boys, as it happens) this morning. I'd say Damian's got as many words as the other kids but he doesn't use them in complete sentences meant to express what he wants/needs, not nearly as much as anyone else there. I'm not too worried, though. He's getting the hang of this language thing. I know there's a lot going on in that little head. He also talks less when he's around strangers. He talks constantly at home -- mostly real words, often quotes from books, often discussions of what he's thinking about. I understand less than half, but sometimes I decipher a word I know and then the rest of the sentence will become clear. Which is why I'm not worried. He's got the language, definitely.

We brought some push toys and a large truck to the gathering. The boys descended on the toys like a pack of hungry wolves. They had fun. Damian was completely cool with it. He doesn't seem to have a possessive bone in his body. Not yet, anyway.

Monday 24 July

Boy is Damian in love with fire trucks! He has a picture book of trucks. He used to linger over the construction vehicles. No more. Now he flips past them and eyeballs the "fyda truuck." And we must've wandered into the fire station around the corner four times today. When he sees the trucks go out on a run, lights flashing and sirens going, he starts quivering and his eyes light up like beacons. Oh, and he squeals. It's amazing how completely a small child can express joy. Body and soul.

He's added two new foods to his repertoire: blueberries and turkey (the sliced variety for sandwiches). Along with the grapes he discovered last Monday, he's expanded the variety of foods he'll eat by almost half.

Tuesday 25 July

He woke up crying this morning. I thought he'd be soothed by our morning ritual -- he comes to bed, snuggles and nurses for another half hour or so. No can do. Crying turned to screaming. He most emphatically did NOT want to be in the bedroom, did not want anything to do with nursing. He was okay with rocking for a while, but what finally calmed him was curling up together on the couch and watching early morning PBS kids shows. It's a little scary, that TV would calm him when nothing else can. But hey, if it works. And we were together, at least.

He's started narrating a lot of his activities. He put a toy fireman on a fire truck and said "fyda man on fyda truck" and then commented on the ladder too, and talked about how he was putting a truck into the
"elevada" (elevator) of his Fisher Price garage. His pronunciation is mostly excellent, though cement mixer comes out "ment mix".

We were sitting on the porch, rocking quietly, when Damian started talking. "I see cars. I see shopping carts." I think he was remembering yesterday's trip to the supermarket.

Tonight he had a meltdown for no apparent reason. He was sitting in my lap. We were all watching Bug's Life. He was very involved, commenting on things and clearly engrossed -- when all of a sudden he started flailing around and hitting my arm. Not hard, but still! So we stopped the video and started his bath. No way no how. He cried in the tub (normally loves his bath), tossed his tub toys around the bathroom, and told Dan that "I mad" so he came out and got ready for bed. Fell asleep very quickly. I think he just suddenly got overwhelmed with exhaustion. I wish I understood why that made him lash out.

An up and down day, definitely. Cheerful most of the time, with brief but scary flashes of temper.

Wednesday 26 July

Much better day. He woke up happy, for one thing. Stayed in a good mood most of the day. Part of it was that I allowed a nursing nap today, so he got an actual hour of naptime. I simply brought him to bed and took a nap with him. I guess that's what I'll have to do for the duration of this strange fixation.

Tonight we played the chase-Mommy-around-the-house game for a while. He adores that game. I love his laughter.

He sat in the top of the cat tree. Was very pleased with himself being up that high.

Walked around holding the cat's tail.

After five days in the booster seat at the table, he wanted to sit in his high chair tonight. Which was fine with me -- he likes to kick the table and I worry that his chair will tip back. High chair is much safer. We shared pasta with tomato sauce. Damian made a special point of eating the tomatoes and commented on them as he ate.

Baths are a problem. As in, ixnay on tubtime. Oy.

Thursday 27 July

We watched CinderElmo. Damian started singing the theme song after the movie was over. "Everybody's doing it, everybody's doing it..."

I'm almost positive the bursts of crying/anger are due to his two year molars coming in. You'd be pissed if your mouth suddenly hurt like the devil too. The crying jags seem to come on at random and stop suddenly, though usually with a bit of coaxing.

Turns out baths are only bad if they happen when he's set to nurse to sleep. So we avoided the problem by giving him an early bath tonight. Only problem? He was wide awake after his bath and ready to run around.

Friday 28 July

This morning we took Damian to the zoo. He was definitely intrigued by the various animals, but didn't quite get that it was all that unusual to see a giraffe or elephant in real life. How could he? He doesn't have enough experience to know the difference. We bought him a set of plastic animals, which he loved playing with when we got home. When he came to nurse down for his nap, he was holding the hippo. Which he walked across my chest. Fell asleep holding it. It was nice to see him so attached to something that didn't have four wheels.

We went for a sunset walk on the beach tonight, at Malibu Lagoon. The tide was quite high and coming in higher, engulfing much of the beach. Our feet got wet. And our calves. And our knees. Damian and I both wore jeans to protect from the chill. The jeans got soaked. Not much protection there. But it was glorious. And Damian LOVED it. Just loved the repeated surge of water washing over his feet. Giggled and squealed and said "ready set go" like Dan does when he squirts water through the rubber elephant's nose in the bathtub. He was in heaven. I'm so glad, because this is the first time he's submitted to any water that wasn't in a bathtub. He's been afraid of pools, even little kiddie pools. Ocean too. I don't think he would have voluntarily walked into the water, but it came to him and it was fun.

On the way home -- after a very late dinner -- Damian started nodding off in the car. Just ten minutes from home. We knew it would mess up his bedtime, so I had to keep him awake. I pinched his nose gently with accompanying sound effect, and tickled under his chin. He giggled, eyes still closed. And stayed awake, very good natured.

Saturday 29 July

What do you do when you've been working on teaching your kid to say what he wants instead of just fussing, and one day he says "I want" and what he wants -- only you don't understand what he just said? How do you affirm the lesson learned, give the proper reward (whatever it is he wants)?

Problem: Damian has a stroller aversion. Solution: use the trike-with-handle instead. Walk seven blocks to playgroup pushing it with one hand while holding too much stuff with the other (no baskets on tricycles). Result: one exhausted, sweaty mom.

We have a water spritzing bottle. It's designed to spritz plants. We use it to spritz Dante when he tries to eat the plants. Damian thinks this is very funny. He's taken to bringing the spritzer over to me just to see it in action. Fortunately, he is just as amused by my spritzing the plants as he is by my spritzing the cat. The plants have been getting a lot of mist of late. The truly amusing part for me is that Dante always comes running to check out the action. It's as if his little kitty brain says: "spritzing action meant for me, I must go get wet" even though he runs like hell the rest of the time. Go figure. Tonight we had a new twist on the game. In between plants, I spritzed Damian's hand. He loved it. I think his ocean adventure yesterday has made him enjoy splashing more.

Sunday 30 July

Dan and Damian sat on the couch today, in the early afternoon, to watch Iron Giant on video. I sat at the dining table noodling on my computer. I looked over after a while and noticed that Damian was fast asleep sitting up. I figured it was time to take a nap myself (only I took mine lying down, in a bed). Dan watched the rest of the movie and wandered off to the study. Damian slept for two hours like that. When I woke up and wandered into the living room to check up on him, I saw him slouched back into the couch but still sitting up. The cat had cuddled up next to him. Joint napping. Very cozy. It was a sweet image.

When Damian woke up, he hopped down and padded into the study to say hi to Dan and then the bedroom to greet me. Happy and bouncy. I think he liked that he could get up and wander when he woke up instead of having to wait for someone to come get him out of the crib. I think we'll be buying a toddler bed soon.

Monday 31 July

We stopped by a children's furniture store this afternoon. Seemed like a safe enough environment. We left Damian alone for a few minutes while we wandered thataway to check out a sleigh bed. Came back -- two minutes later at most -- to find him halfway up the ladder to the top bunk of a bunk bed. Yow. He climbed the rest of the way up -- with parental supervision -- and rolled around up there for a while. I'd be tempted... but no.

Then we looked at a bed with drawers underneath and even a cabinet type of door. This bed was rather high off the floor. High enough, apparently, for Damian to crawl inside the cabinet and close the door behind him. I don't think we'll be buying him that bed.

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